Game Theory

Game Theory


One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. Oh, hi. My name is Yoav Shoham. I am a professor of computer science here at Stanford. My area is artificial intelligence, logic, game theory, electronic commerce. And I’d like to introduce my friend, Matt. Hi. I’m Matthew Jackson. I’m a professor of economics here at Stanford University and we’re here. My interests include game theory, political economy and the analysis of social and economic networks and we are here to tell you about an exciting new course that will be online, on game theory. And in terms of the coverage of this game theory course, it includes the games like we were just playing, rock paper scissors. Includes parlor games like Go, Chess, etc. But it also includes a number of really important examples of how people behave in the world today. And it covers basically the mathematics of rational interaction and also irrational interaction. So things like understanding how people will behave in an auction, how we understand how the markets like the New York Stock Exchange behave, how do political campaigns work, how do countries decide when to go to war. So, a whole series of very important applications. And that’s part of the reason it’s become such an important methodology in economics. Yoav, why is a computer scientists interested in game theory? Oh, I mean, today the interest in game theory in computer science is intense. And after all, how would we begin to analyze eBay or Peer to Peer networks or keyword auctions on Google, if we didn’t muddle the rationality and self interest of players, and so it comes very naturally to us now. So, let me tell you a little bit about the class and it’s structure. So, the course will have weekly lectures and the lectures will be divided into roughly 10-minute sections where you can answer some questions between the different sections. Those will be graded online and in real time, so you’ll get feedback about those. There will also be a final exam for the course. In terms of the subject matter, we’ll start by covering how you represent games, players, strategies. We’ll talk about the normal form, which is the canonical representation of the game. We will talk about extensive form games which allow for dynamics and for people to react to each other. We will talk about situations where there might be incomplete information. So, how did you bid at an auction when you’re bidding against somebody who might have different information from you? We will talk about games over time, repeated games over time. So there’s a whole series of the basic structures of games and analysis that we’ll cover. And there will also be a question board that you can interact with other students through so if you have questions about subject matter and so forth, you can get answered. I think that, in terms of prerequisites, we’re going to assume that people are familiar with basic calculus and also have some knowledge of probability so that you’ll know what, for instance, a conditional probability is, but we’re not going to assume any specific knowledge beyond that. So, it should be an exciting course. Very exciting. Really the first time such a course as game theory has been taught at such a grand scale really aimed at a very broad audience, not just specialists in economics or in computer science, but really anybody interested in strategic interaction with who is willing to embrace a basic mathematical approach. Very exciting. Probably also a little challenging given the broad interdisciplinary nature, in fact, you and I may find ourselves disagreeing at times. How are we gonna handle that? Can we agree to disagree? We’ll find out. So where were we, professor?

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